Wearing glitter in the fire age

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Selected poems


Knock knock

When I came back from an emptied space

they housed me in a museum that was

exactly the same as my home.


Endearing dioramas of my friends

repeated what they'd always repeated.

A projection of my lover

reaches towards me daily at noon,

it is a tease. Touch is impossible.

There's a volcano out the window

& a recording of waves in the distance.


Haven't looked in a mirror since I was 23,

it'd be crazy to start now.


Doors here have no locks

I have no clothes

because it isn't cold,

common-sense like this

sees me settled in a thoroughly

comfortable deception.


There may be nothing left.

It is time to light a fire.




Wearing glitter in the fire age 

We all need a bit of weird, turning

chops orange or making ice-cream out of beetroot.

So I aspire to be a paperclip — that touch

of menace as I approach a putative community of sheets

despite all their disparate hate & flimsy promise.

I have been taught


necessary unhappiness. A golden paperclip

because a psychologist once said I was gilt-ridden.

By the time I'd left unhealed

he had developed his own habits.

One day soon I'll clamp

my bright (but a little showy) future.


Composing in a dead language smeared

with ink and pharmaceuticals

I refuse to leave the memes alone

though they're always veering off

in the opposite direction.


On page 3 the glaciers stopped melting,

the sun turned a merry beige to go with all

those curtains across town.

My own fulgence will flatter the world into stasis

& on page 20 I am victorious (yes, everything).





With trains suspended for trackwork

had a few stiff drinks

this life feels a little country

& we're both a-pickin'

at an old straw tale.


There's a river cycling down the road

storms haven't waited for summer

thieves took all I'd abandoned last week.

That conversation yesterday was no soufflé

& tasted like shit anyway.


We talk about Syria

with no right to rhyme.

There's ruckus in tribe,

the bruise of ideas &

no art in war.


This impermanence will last forever.

So isolated —

even the swashbuckling motorways are distracted,

their plans miles away.

We are frantically passive

beneath all those salves

manufactured to stifle, tamp

the aches of reason.



Wait. Watch. Even if we're both falling.

Catch me.

& I'll catch you.




Ford Falcon

G picks at the horror, somebody's fault.

This shard world, this collapse.

He was due to receive a crown.

Hell, it was just to be a minor diadem,

no jewels. Knew he'd be under-recognised

but this?


No better than a bricklayer

less respected than some halfway sensible nurse —

his studies, the years.

A career shouldn't careen & now

he's hit the tree of his age, his male whiteness.


The vehicle is not a write-off

though there's smoke from under the bonnet.

100000ks on the clock

those chunks of windscreen glass in the summer sun

are for him a promise of refulgence yet to come.


With a bitter, saurian patience

he's entered you into his gps.

A retaliatory wreckage is certain.

He is coming.




The construct

I can't drink this thing,

its shade is negligible.


There are already enough excuses not to hope

dark matter is everywhere.

Our end of all orbits is already written.


This small wall must crumble &

quieter minds will scribble in the rubble.



Les WicksLes Wicks has been published across 19 countries in ten languages. His most recent book is Getting By Not Fitting In (Island, 2016).

Topic tags: Les Wicks, poetry



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Existing comments

I enjoyed all of these Les.
Anne | 11 March 2018


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